Results 1-10of 18 Reviews
September 24, 2013
From journal Family Vacation in the Black Hills
ashbourne, United Kingdom
December 3, 2011
From journal Meeting up in South Dakota
August 18, 2011
From journal Journey to the Old Way of Life in South Dakota
September 15, 2007
From journal South Dakota
East Berlin, Pennsylvania
October 6, 2006
To those who do this hike, you're rewarded with a nice meander through - and up - one of the many canyons in the Badlands. You get to see, touch, and marvel at the colors and texture of the cliffs and can almost literally see the erosion making them the gems that they are. At the end, you reach a notch (hence the trail name) approx. 500 ft or so up where you get a spectacular view of the White River Valley. There's no bench, etc, but we used some well placed rocks to sit down and eat our breakfast there one morning - it was peaceful and nice. Since we were there early, we didn't see more than a handful of other hikers, but I suspect later in the mornings this hike might be popular.
If you'd like to hike the Notch Trail, definitely wear hiking boots. The rock of the Badlands is hard - yet brittle in places - and the traction provided by boots would be a necessity in my opinion. Hiking sandals might be uncomfortable with bits and pieces of said rock ending up under your feet. After a rain, this hike is said to be hazardous due to slippery conditions - so judge accordingly. It wasn't an issue when we were there - though it would have been neat to see water in some of the washes... There was one area where the trail had been rerouted due to erosion, but it was well marked with signs. In all cases, beware near edges...
Other thoughts... like anywhere in the Badlands - or hiking in general - take water. It can get hot out here easily - esp in summer. Sunglasses are also an asset. We saw mule deer, ground squirrels and birds, but most of the beauty lies in the terrain. Enjoy it as you hike.
After being in the notch, head over to the Cliff Shelf trail and you can look up and see where you were...
From journal 2006 Trip - Part 1 - IA, Badlands + Rushmore
October 5, 2006
The park is divided into three sections - the northern one being the most accessible - right off Rt 90 with a beautiful car driving loop going through it. Near the eastern entrance is the Visitor's Center - worth a stop to begin your visit. There's a well-done movie explaining the park and it's critters - and other exhibits to meander around. Naturally, there's also a gift shop and restrooms.
Like critter watching? For Bighorn Sheep, look along the road near the Pinnacles overlook/entrance early in the morning. They were regularly eating there then when we visited and were up close. Buffalo/bison are often seen down Sage Creek Road - anytime of the day, but can be in the distance. Prairie Dogs have many towns both along the road towards the western side and along Sage Creek Road.
So what's so special (besides the animals)? The erosion of the rocks... Rocks you say, just rocks? Well, no, not "just" rocks - incredible scenery of cliffs that go on and on beyond your view's end. The color is spectacular. The erosion unbelievable - and not equaled in sight anywhere we've seen in such massive amounts. Hiking here is a must - even for a short hike - just to touch the cliffs up close and personal (yes, it's allowed - just don't take any).
Note that the only food available in the park is at the Cedar Pass Lodge (near the Visitor Center, but not at it) - you need to head to Wall, Interior, or Cactus Flat otherwise (or bring a picnic). We ate in Wall Drug in Wall. It was good - though crowded. Wall (and Wall Drug) is the local tourist area - and the place to go if you like shopping, etc, plus a little local history.
Quite honestly, we've talked with people - well, we've also BEEN people, who expected a short drive through the park seeing some neat scenery (on our last trip) and were WOWED with what we actually saw. That time we didn't have time to really see this park, so this time we started here - and "wowed" my mom and nephew with the same sights. To many folks (us included) Badlands NP and Bryce NP (Utah) offer some of the most spectacular, unexpected scenery. See some of my other entries for specific hikes we did...
You probably wouldn't want to spend a week here, but a day or two is well worth it. Our whole family enjoyed it much more than Mt Rushmore... It's some of nature's scenery at her best.
January 2, 2005
From journal Badlands Getaway
New Milford, Pennsylvania
August 17, 2004
From journal From PA to SD and back in 7 days!
May 19, 2006
From journal South Dakota: Land of Plenty
February 5, 2006
From journal Badlands/White River KOA